Help with Gmail forwarding/account authentication issues
December 29, 2017 4:49 PM   Subscribe

I currently have a secondary Gmail account auto-forward to my main Gmail account. On December 25th I added 2-factor authentication to that secondary account. Suddenly today in my primary account, I'm getting a notification in the "Accounts and Import" tab, next to "Check mail from other accounts" that my secondary Gmail address (POP3) has an "Authentication error. Mail from this account has not been retrieved since Dec 25."

Clicking for more details shows the following for mail fetch info a whole bunch of times, on different days and times:
"Authentication error.
Server returned error "[AUTH] Username and password not accepted."

A few other curious details, that seem suspicious to me but maybe I've just never noticed or checked since setting this up? Or something else caused these changes? When I click to edit the details of that secondary account (while in my primary account) the account username is just my first name in lowercase, rather than the email address (which it seems it should be). Additionally, the POP server rather than being, shows as "" I'm not sure why or when that would've been entered that way. I've tried simply changing these details to be correct (the Username as the secondary email address, the correct password, the but get the following error: "Server denied POP3 access for the given username and password."

I am currently able to access the secondary email account, otherwise.

How do I resolve this? I imagine it has to do with enabling that 2-factor authentication. Is there a better way to combine these accounts rather than just forwarding the secondary to the primary, anyway? Is something suspicious going on?

posted by rbf1138 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think you need to re-add the forwarded account but use an App password instead of your regular password for the forwarded account. These let you grant access on a case by case basis to specific accounts when you have 2 factor enabled.

So basically log into the account that you're forwarding, generate an Apps password following the instructions linked above, then log into your main email, add a new account, and use the App password instead of your regular gmail account.
posted by DarthDuckie at 5:12 PM on December 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

Came here to say what DarthDuckie said.
posted by lhauser at 5:15 PM on December 29, 2017

The POP3 and IMAP mailbox access protocols are built to authenticate via simple password checks, but Google really, really, really doesn't like granting access to the guts of Gmail accounts by any mechanism other than the browser-based Google Account single-sign-on. They provide assorted workarounds for this (app passwords, "allow less secure authentication", API keys) but all of them are a bit of a pain in the arse to get going and all of them just mysteriously get reset from time to time because fuck you, that's why.

So it's easier to go with their security flow, and avoid using their "Check mail from other accounts" facility when the account in question is also a Gmail account. Then, instead of having the primary account fetch mails from the secondary, set the secondary account to forward all incoming messages to the primary immediately on arrival. As well as sidestepping all the security nonsense, this means you get your secondary mails more quickly as they will never be hanging about in your secondary account's inbox waiting for your primary account to poll it for new mails.

The best way I know of to make a Gmail account forward everything it receives to somewhere else is to abuse the message filter facility. This works better than the plain forwarding facility because filters get run against incoming mails before they're marked as spam or not; they have to, because one of the available filter actions lets you classify mails as spam or not spam. The plain forwarding facility never forwards spam, meaning that spam false positives detected by your secondary account would end up languishing in the secondary account's Spam folder instead of coming through to the primary account's where they're easier to look for.

So in the Accounts and Import tab of the settings for your primary account, turn off Check email from other accounts for your secondary account.

Then, in the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab of the settings for the secondary account, add your primary account as a forwarding address (this involves an exchange of authentication emails and entry of a verification code), then select Disable Forwarding.

Finally, in the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab of the secondary account's settings, create a new filter. Put to:b2LWRrBUq4WfNCFP6AV3 in the Doesn't have box (except don't use that random string; follow that link to to get a new one just for you). You now have a filter that's guaranteed to match every incoming message, because your newly generated random string is long enough that no possible process will ever generate it again before the heat death of the Universe, so it can't ever turn up in the to: field of a mail sent by anybody else. Click the Continue ยป link and set up the filter action you want, which can include forwarding the mail to anywhere you like.

If you'd rather that mails forwarded by your secondary account ended up in their own separate inbox in your primary account instead of mixing in with stuff sent directly to your primary address, you can achieve that by forwarding to rather than to just plain, then setting up a filter inside your primary account matching on in the Includes the words box to tag it appropriately. You have to use the deliveredto: operator in the Includes the words box rather than just using the to: box, because the to: address on all these mails will actually be the same as it was when the mail originally arrived at your secondary account; the forwarding filter alters only the envelope address.

I use this method to forward everything from my legacy Gmail account to the Fastmail account I use day-to-day. I don't want stuff building up in the Gmail account, so I have the forwarding filter mark messages as read and delete them as well as forwarding them to my Fastmail, but if you've bothered to set up 2FA for your secondary that might not be what you want.
posted by flabdablet at 7:44 PM on December 30, 2017

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